A trial looking at CAV chemotherapy versus paclitaxel and carboplatin for small cell lung cancer

Cancer type:

Lung cancer
Small cell lung cancer




Phase 2

This trial was comparing the combination of 3 drugs called vincristine, doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide (CAV) with a combination of 2 drugs called paclitaxel and carboplatin (PC), to see which worked best for small cell lung cancer.

Small cell lung cancer responds very well to chemotherapy. But many patients will not be cured and the treatment aims to control the disease and its symptoms for as long as possible. So the treatment should not cause too many side effects.

The aims of this trial were to see which of the 2 drug combinations

  • Was better at controlling the disease for longer
  • Had fewer side effects

Summary of results

The trial team found that more people who had paclitaxel and carboplatin (PC) were alive after one year.

The trial recruited 219 patients. Half had PC chemotherapy, the other half had CAV. The cancer got smaller in about 6 out of 10 people (60%) in both groups. But on average, people who had PC lived longer.

People having PC had more nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy Open a glossary item), but other serious side effects were fewer with this drug combination. People having CAV had a higher number of serious infections.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) but may not have been published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Nick Thatcher

Supported by

Manchester Lung Tumour Group

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 75

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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